Northwest Football Keeps Firm Grasp on King’s Trophy

Photo | Phil Fabrizio Northwest celebrates winning the 2018 King’s Trophy on Sept. 15, following the defeat of longtime rival Seneca Valley.

Photo | Phil Fabrizio
Northwest celebrates winning the 2018 King’s Trophy on Sept.15,
following the defeat of longtime rival Seneca Valley.

The Northwest High School football team defeated historic rival Seneca Valley, 35-0, on Sept. 15 to win the coveted King’s Trophy for the third consecutive season. The Jaguars’ victory in the 20th installment of the Battle of Germantown cut the Screaming Eagles’ overall series lead to 11-9.

“The game itself is a huge tradition and the kids take it really seriously,” Northwest coach Mike Neubeiser said. “I think they were missing a few players and were a little shorthanded but some of our guys that we needed to step up, really stepped up for us.”

A.J. Woods put Northwest on the scoreboard less than two minutes into the contest when he recovered a blocked punt on Seneca Valley’s fourth play of the game in the end zone for a touchdown. The quick start set the tone for the night, Neubeiser said.

Northwest struck again at the end of the first quarter when 6-foot-4, 247-pound tight end DeAndre Jules caught a seven-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Jordan Morse. The Jaguars extended their lead to three touchdowns early in the second quarter when senior quarterback Jack Anders connected with Marcus Berry on a 69-yard scoring play. Anders completed six of nine pass attempts for 114 yards; Morse completed four of six pass attempts for 44 yards.

The Jaguars led 28-0 at halftime after junior Ajahni Terry took a short pass 15 yards into the end zone—he finished with 54 rushing yards on five carries. Senior Drew Howard scored Northwest’s final touchdown on a 15-yard run early in the third quarter.

“(That 69-yard touchdown pass) doesn’t happen unless the guys up front block,” Anders said in an interview posted on the Jaguars’ Twitter page. “So, I’ve got to thank those five guys. And (Berry) made one (heck) of a catch.”

Northwest held Seneca Valley—which was able to muster only two yards passing—to three and out on its first three possessions. But even when the Screaming Eagles picked up some momentum on offense, the Jaguars’ defense, led by strong performances from Jules, Daniel Worthy, who Neubeiser said tallied several tackles for a loss, and Jaylin Blue, stifled their progress.

Northwest has now won the King’s Trophy four of the past five years, after Seneca Valley held it for six straight seasons from 2007-2012. Despite the Jaguars’ seeming dominance in a 3-0 start to the season, during which they have outscored their opponents an average of 34.7-9.7 points per game, there is much work that needs to be done before they’re where they need—and want—to be, Neubeiser said.

State champion caliber teams don’t turn the ball over, and they don’t make silly mistakes, Neubeiser continued. And Northwest has continued to rack up penalties on mindless errors, such as offsides calls. The Jaguars have been propelled early this fall by their raw athleticism but Northwest’s offense is still searching for its identity. And the Jaguars will want to do that sooner rather than later, as they enter the heart of their schedule—Northwest’s Sept. 28 meeting with perennial national powerhouse Good Counsel should reveal a lot.

“(The win over Seneca Valley) looks great on paper, but it was hard for me, even though we beat them the way we did, I’m not happy with where we are,” Neubeiser said. “And I think the kids, this is a mature group, and they understand that we’re not there yet. … The good thing about playing Good Counsel early, or midway through the season, is it forces you to step up. We won’t be able to get by on just our athleticism.”